Prison Fellowship International currently operates within 15 countries throughout Latin America. Christianity is the predominant faith practiced in the region, but friction between Catholic and Evangelical groups present challenges. The ecumenical structure of Prison Fellowship International has allowed leaders across faith traditions to unite in a shared mission.
PFI has a vested interest in changing overall prison culture, in addition to lives of prisoners and their families. In 1972 the Association for the Protection and Assistance of the Condemned established the first APAC prison. These prisons combine restorative justice with faith-based practices to create an environment which reinforces the dignity of every prisoner while promoting personal trust and change. While the idea of a prison without guards may evoke skepticism, PFI chose to partner with the program, and there are now 107 APAC prisons thriving throughout Latin America. When prisoners feel valued and respected, they are less likely to reoffend – which is evidenced by remarkably low recidivism rates within these prisons. This success has prompted Europe and Africa to begin establishing APAC prisons as well.
The Latin American national ministries have developed a plethora of programs which extend support to the families of prisoners and the communities affected by rampant crime. Spouses or prisoners have access to microloans which enable them to begin entrepreneurial endeavors. Children are cared for through intervention programs which emphasize safety, education, and mentorship. In some cases, prisoners receive up to a year of support upon release and are provided with employment opportunities by PFI stakeholders and donors. This is a testament to the generous hearts and dedication of those who have seen the transformative power of Christ in the lives of prisoners.
Praise be to the Lord for He has heard my cry. The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. The Lord hears our cries, He hears the prisoner’s cries for mercy, the cries of the children of prisoners, and the cries of victims of crime. Even though prisons are places of darkness—imprisoning hearts and minds—the Kingdom of God is found in prison, too. Prison bars cannot keep out the Word of God. It goes through prison bars, reaching the hearts of these men and women.
I am witness to God piercing the darkness of prisons, for prisoners and prison officials. I have seen how God provides peace, restoration, forgiveness, faith, hope, and courage to those who live a life of new vision and purpose by walking with Him. With the strength of the Holy Spirit, they can resist temptation and change their lives through a personal relationship with Jesus. When confronting the darkness, and seeing God’s grace transform broken lives, our trust in Him grows—and this brings joy to our hearts.
Exposé Prison Fellowship Honduras
Exposé Prison Fellowship Bolivia
Exposé Prison Fellowship Colombia
Spreading the Gospel
- 186 Prisons running TPJ
- Nearly 150,000 TPJ graduates
- Over 300,000 prisoners reached
- More than 1,600 children of prisoners served through the children of prisoners program
- 12 National Ministies running Angel Tree with more than 22,000 children of prisoners served
This is just a snapshot of the many programs and initiatives taking place all over the region. From Bible studies to aftercare, children’s camps, halfway houses and other important interventions, Latin America’s ministries engage in many critical aspects of prisoner’s and their families lives.